Thousands Run In Downtown OKC For The Memorial Marathon
Oklahoma City, OK - More than 24,000 runners took part in the Memorial Marathon in downtown Oklahoma City Sunday. The annual event benefits the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to remember the 168 people who died in the bombing on April 19, 1995.
“These are pictures of when we went right after it happened,” said Kyra Reed as she flips through a photo book her mother made.
The pictures are the only memories Reed has of the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Building. She was just two years old when her mother took her to see the aftermath.
“We didn't have anyone personally connected to it but I think it was really important for her and to show me what had happened and the impact that it put on our state too,” Reed said.
Now older, she returns to downtown Oklahoma City with her mother along with thousands of others to run in the Memorial Marathon. This year, she ran the half marathon.
“Just to see everyone that has the in honor of or in memory of bibs, you kind of see those and get a reminder of why you're there and what you're doing it for,” she said.
And for her, that’s to honor those affected by the bombing, like Larry Hansen, Battalion Chief of Operations for the OKC Fire Department.
“It's very emotional,” Hansen said of walking the marathon.
Hansen worked alongside other first responders the day of the bombing and now walks in full gear to remember that day.
“This is a big part of how the city has grown after April 19, 1995,” Hansen said of the marathon. “We never want to forget what happened that day.”
This is the 19th year for the marathon and even though the course and finish line has changed, the emotions felt when crossing it to receive a medal remains the same.
“When you're running and you see firefighters in full gear holding American flags and then you see people, amputees, running, it brings a sense of spirit to you,” said runner Jennifer Shaver. “If they can finish, you can finish.”
“I've got 31 years on and I’ll keep doing it ‘til I can't do it anymore,” Hansen said.
Following the marathon, a finish line festival was held at the Myriad Gardens.